Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Keep Up And You'll Be Kept Up

Keep Up and You’ll Be Kept Up

Susan thought that after forty days of meditation, all of her problems would go away. But they didn’t, so she quit meditating. They definitely did not go away after that.
Ashley completed forty days of Kirtan Kriya, and it changed her life significantly. She stopped meditating because she figured she had already received all the benefits. Her life quickly changed back to the way it was before.
I think that forty is a nice round symbolic number, and it’s fun to do a forty-day meditation. But the fortieth day is not meant to be the end, or a one-time event, and expectations should be managed or should be released to God. Here is what the teachings of Kundalini Yoga say:

It is written that, in 40 days, a practitioner using Kundalini Yoga as an experience creates uplift and liberation. It may take 20 years using other techniques. But that was assuming the person who engages in this should first be mentally stable, have strong habits, have a clear mind, and a pure body. Most people do not fit these qualifications and it takes a little longer to use the same practices to clear the subconscious and organize the mind toward the soul and the Infinite, instead of toward our finiteness and neurosis.[1]

The above quote explains why results vary and why religious people who live a clean life and who are stable are able to accelerate faster. However, even though the technology is fast, it is not always helpful to look for proof of your progress or to compare your progress with others. Of course, proofs will come along the way and you’ll take note of them, but don’t get hung up on proof. Some people may see colors or feel sensations in their bodies, and while these experiences can be fun, Yogi Bhajan called them “glitter at the bottom of the ladder.” They don’t necessarily indicate a mighty change or awakening, which, through the technology of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®, can often happen very subtly and without fireworks.
There may be days that nothing at all seems to be changing, but things are happening outside of your awareness. I challenge people to complete a forty-day meditation because forty days in a row is the right amount of time to make a change from one state of being to another, but your own personal meditations can be done for ninety days, one hundred twenty days, a thousand days, or your entire life. Real transformation continues to unfolds in layers as each beat of the heart rewrites your destiny.
There may be a honeymoon period with meditation, there may be interference, and there may also be times when it seems your “progress” has fallen off. Maybe tragedy strikes, challenges arise, or unhealed parts of yourself come up. It is important to remember that these things are sacred too. After all, happiness and sorrow are the opposing forces that swirl the heart chakra. In difficult times, the only thing to do is to keep up. I have been through dark times. I testify that if you keep up, you will be kept up and there will be glorious days ahead.
I love the following quote from M. Katherine Thomas:

With eyes to see, we find that we are participants in a highly interactive universe, a dynamic laboratory, in which the Governing Powers lead us and even provoke us to ‘be conformed to the image of [God’s] Son’ (Romans 8:29). To this end, the Lord, knowing what we do not yet understand about our own soul, what has not yet been healed or resolved in us, allows circumstances and events to provoke the tutorials which will set us free in love. [2]

I’ve found that if you want to assess your progress, the best practice is to circle a date on the calendar nine months from now. We travel through life in nine-month cycles, and it seems the right amount of time for rebirth. On the date you’ve circled, look back and assess your progress. You might find that the landscape looks quite different.

One part of the sadhana should stay constant long enough for you to master, or at least experience, the changes evoked by a single technique. Each kriya and mantra has its individual effects, although they all elevate you toward a cosmic consciousness. Learn to value the pricelessness of one kriya, and all others will be understood in a clearer light.—Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher: KRI International Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Level I Yoga Manual (Santa Cruz, NM: Kundalini Research Institute, 2007),150

[1] Kundalini Research Institute, KRI International Teacher Training Manual, Level 1, 4th ed. (Santa Cruz, NM:  Kundalini Research Institute, 2007), 286.
[2] M. Catherine Thomas, Light in the Wilderness: Explorations in the Spiritual Life (Salt Lake City, UT: Digital Legend Press, 2010), 164.

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